Operation Beefcake

7 01 2009

I’ve got a rather ironic situation on my freakishly cold little hands these days. And not the Alanis Morissette song kind of quasi-cosmic-ironic situations that are not so much ironic as they are inconvenient piss-offs. I mean, a black fly in your Chardonnay? Pfffft. That’s not ironic. That’s just what you get for drinking Chardonnay in the woods. Me, I’ve got actual irony. Serious irony.

You may recall a few months ago that I was a tad perturbed by Baby Squiggles’ size (if you don’t recall, you can read all about it here.) Yes, Squiggy has always been a bit of a beefcake baby, just as her sisters were. As of August, at her 9 month well-baby visit, she tipped the scales at 20 pounds, and was around the 90th percentile in weight and height for her age. And I was worried that she’d outgrow the sleepers I got her for Christmas before fall even rolled around.

Enter irony.

A few weeks ago, at her one year check-up, we faced another perturbing reality: suddenly, it seems,  Squiggles is no longer a beefcake baby. In fact, she has only gained 1 pound since August, and has dropped to the 30th percentile for weight, and around the 50th for height. Which might be perfectly normal for her, as babies do tend to level off in their growth somewhere around age one. That’s what all my trusty books and websites tell me when I go hunting for some information and insight on the subject. Don’t worry, they all say. It’s probably just her growth  leveling out. As long as the rest of her development is otherwise normal, don’t worry. But what if it’s not? What if she’s not following a typical developmental trajectory? What if, at 13 months, she’s still trying to master rolling over? If she’s not crawling? Or interested in bearing much weight on her legs to stand? Or, on the odd occasions I do manage to get her to stand, she stands on her toes? And when she sits, she’s still prone to spontaneously losing her balance and falling backwards? What then? Well, the short answer is worry. And get that baby’s skinny, developmentally delayed butt to a doctor. Which is exactly what’s happening. Our family doctor referred us to a pediatrician, whom we will see at the end of January. She’ll probably order a battery of pokes and prods and diagnostic imaging studies that will test, among other things, my child’s patience, and my maternal fortitude. Again.

In the meantime, I can’t just sit around worrying and wondering about the possibilities. I already know what most of them are, and they range from no-big-deal to the stuff of parental nightmares. Stuff that makes autism and CP (which are my two if-there’s-gotta-be-a-diagnosis-please-let-it-be-one-of-these picks) look like sunshine and lollipops. I also can’t just sit around helplessly waiting for…well…help. Luckily, the OT and PT tricks I learned when Roo was a baby facing very similar development issues have come flooding back to me. I’m working on strengthening Squiggle’s muscle tone in her trunk, which is key to sitting up without falling backwards, not to mention crawling, standing and walking. I’m doing daily exercises with her to help develop  overall gross motor co-ordination. And I’m trying my damnedest to fatten that baby up.

Enter Operation Beefcake.

I will be the first to admit that Squiggle’s new skinny baby status could be all our fault. Actually, I hope it is because that is by far the least unsettling reason for the sudden change in weight-gaining pattern, and by far the easiest thing to fix. Squiggles is an incredibly picky eater when it comes to the taste, texture, temperature and timing of her food, and she rarely if ever yells at us to tell us when she is hungry. So, maybe we just haven’t been agressive enough in stuffing her little face since she started solid foods. Maybe we gave up too quickly when she started refusing her food a third of the way through the bowl. Maybe we let her get away with not finishing her bottles too many times. Maybe I should have been letting her eat cheese for breakfast, lunch and dinner. All my former parenting philosophies and ideals have been tossed out the window. Again. And they’ve been replaced with a new mantra: Do what you’ve gotta do. If that means it takes one hour, four varieties of mouth-opening tricks, and several re-heatings to feed Squiggles one jar of  ultra-pureed baby food, instead of the anticipated fifteen minutes to shovel in a bowl of homemade chicken and sweet potatoes, then so be it. If that means sitting with her and cuddling her while she drinks a bottle, instead of plunking her on the floor and leaving her to her own devices in order to get a jump on the dishes, then so be it. If that means feeding her cheese and toast with jam until they come out her ears on days when that is all she will eat, then so be it. If Operation Beefcake is a success, Squiggles should grow into that sleeper I bought her for Christmas in no time. Who knows, maybe after a month of cheese feasts and therapy exercises, by the time that ped appointment rolls around, we’ll show up with a chubby, toddling Baby Squiggles, and the doctor will laugh us out of the office. And I’ll laugh a little when she tells me I have nothing to worry about. A little too ironic? Yeah, I really do think.

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Famous Last Words

16 12 2008

“Well, that’s about as easy as a root canal can get!” she chirped. “It might be a little tender for a day or two, but after that you’ll be good to go.” Right. A week later, the only place I was “good to go” was straight back down to the dentist’s office to clobber the chirpy sadistic liar who turned my mildly sensitive front tooth into a constantly throbbing, aching, bitch-inducing hunk of torture.

And that, my friends, is the underlying reason why I’ve been M.I.A from this blog for a while. It also seems that when my evil little bird of a dentist blocked up my tooth’s root with gutta percha (see, at least I learned new words – fancy dentist words – while I was away) she also blocked up my creativity. Pain has a way of doing that. As does sleep deprivation, caused by the aforementioned relentless toothache, as well as the relentless restlessness of one Baby Squiggles who is having tooth issues of her own. Add on to that, a creative crisis triggered by no less than three of my potential writing projects falling through in the span of a week, and a serious bout of hypochondria triggered by the fact that I am a serious hypochondriac. And not in the cutesy way, like “Hee hee hee, I keep forgetting to wear a bra and underwear! I must have Alzheimer’s! I’m such a hypochondriac!” No. Like, in the past two weeks I’ve convinced myself that I might have ALS, a pituitary tumour, throat cancer, a heart infection,  a heart attack, sepsis, strokes, antibiotic resistant strep, hypochondria, and an infected failed root canal that’s going to require seriously invasive surgery and a $3000 dental implant right before Christmas. Before I’ve made enough money and gotten enough published to qualify for a PWAC membership and insurance plan. That, my friends, is a whole lot of reasons to let my husband take over this blog for a while.

But pituitary tumour or not, I’m back! Before I get back to my usual rantings and ravings, here are some Blister family highlights from my hiatus, a couple of snippets that have yet to be erased from my memory by the raging case of amnesia I think I’m coming down with:

Baby Squiggles and the Sibs study

A few weeks back, I took Squiggles to the 12 month visit for the siblings autism research study. And as crazy as I might be sometimes, it’s nice to know that I’m not completely crazy all the time. It has been confirmed that Squiggles is, at the very least, weird. How weird, we do not know. But weird enough that they video taped her little leg-paddling-bum-scootching mode of transportation, did some cognitive assessments far beyond what you’d normally try with a one year-old, and brought the study’s lead doctor in to see Baby Squiggles in all her baffling developmental glory, and meet with me because I’m just so damn interesting. Apparently, we hypochondriacs are very observant, and we know a lot of medical jargon, which makes us fun for doctors to talk to.

The School Holiday Concert

I don’t know what was the most fun about Neener and Roo’s Holiday concert: Me, my mother, Neener and Roo, all dolled up standing in a massive line-up outside for 15 minutes, waiting for The School to open the doors so we could get out of the chilly night wind, drop the kids in their classroom, and claim our two-tickets-alloted-per-family seats; or the rousing performance of ‘So This Is Christmas” that opened the show. Because you know, nothing says holiday celebration like an a capella  rendition of the most depressing Christmas song ever written, sung by a bunch of tone deaf kids in the key of guilt flat; or the grade six band, who, god love them, really thought they were playing a song. In actuality, they were being used by The School administration as part of an evil plot to confuse and disorient the crowd with so much random honking and tooting that no parent would be able to hold their video camera still, and would thus be forced to shell out $25 for a dvd copy from The School. But for real, the finest moment – hands down the best part of the entire concert – came when, of all 371 kids in that school, one little angelic-faced girl on her way off the stage suddenly darted to the mic, put it three milimeters away from her mouth, and shouted “But nobody could do that!” Unbeknownst to her, Roo singled-handedly delivered a lot of people from the mind-numbing monotony of Holiday concert hell with that classicly cryptic little line.

There. Now we’re all caught up. Finally, I’d like to thank my Mr. for stepping into the blogging breech when he was needed. Like you, I have an endless appreciation for him, and his remarkable talent for melding dumbass observations with smartass wit. And thank you, readers, for giving him such a friendly yet appropriately tepid welcome. I’m sure you realize that if you’d been all giddy and swooney over every word he wrote, I might have gotten all  sulky and huffy and said “Fine! Screw you guys! Way to kick me in the sore teeth when I’m down! It’s all fun and games now, but you’ll be sorry when he starts writing about the proper way to test for oil or latex paint, or starts posting his illustrations of how to replace divots on a golf course! Drawn on a Magna-doodle!” Lucky for us all, it didn’t come to that. And as long as I can keep this potentially life-threatening case of what I suspect is carpal tunnel syndrome at bay, it never will.





Smooth Criminal

27 11 2008

Just when I thought any trace of bad-ass street cred I ever pretended I had was gone, swept away like a million little Goldfish cracker fragments, or so thoroughly diluted by breast milk and apple juice and instant decaf coffee that it was virtually undetectable, along comes a day like today. A day that proves that I still know how to handle myself under pressure, and that my inner criminal is alive and well and just waiting for a chance to exercise her evil genius.

It all began innocently enough. Mr. set off early to go talk to a grade six class about the world of business, as part of his stay-at-home-dad sanity-saving volunteer work. That left Squiggles and I in charge of getting Neener and Roo to school on time and fully clothed. Squiggles, surprisingly enough, was not much help, unless you consider hollering ‘hat!’ and ‘dog!’ and ‘balloooooooon!’ every twelve seconds helpful. I do not. Still, we managed the school drop-off without incident and headed home to have us some coffee and mushed bananas. With a hungry, wiggling, snow-suit clad Squiggles on my hip, I gave the back patio door a yank. But the bastard didn’t budge because the loose little lock mechanism had slipped and locked the door behind us when we left. And it just so happened that I’d locked the front door. And that my key was on my brother’s key ring. And that my brother was at work almost an hour away. And that Mr.’s cell phone was off and he’d be at a school that I did not know the name of for the next three hours. And that even if I could pop off the screens and pry open any of the old, heavy, crummy windows, there was no guarantee that my big arse would fit through. Squiggles, surprisingly enough, was not much help. Unless you consider writhing and twisting and crying helpful, which, at that moment, I did not. november2008-044So, I did what any locked-out-of-the-house-mother-with-a-cranky-baby would do in order to avoid a whole lotta crying from both of us: I whipped out a boob for the baby, and whipped out my phone to call my best friend. So she could laugh hysterically at me from the comfort and safe distance of her home in Toronto. After a good laugh and a quick brainstorm of my very limited options, I did the second thing that any locked-out-of-the-house-mother-with-a-baby-on-boob would do in order to avoid plunging into panic: I called my mother so that she could panic for me from the helpless distance  of her little house in the big woods. By the time I hung up the phone, my mother was on the hunt for the phone number of Mr.’s school and Squiggles was sound asleep. So, I tucked the baby in to the stroller and decided to put my break and enter skills to the test. Skills I have not exercised since my friend Dodie and I were 17, and found ourselves locked out of her house and in desperate need of a bathroom. I won’t tell you exactly how I managed to jimmy open our patio door, for obvious security reasons, and because no proper smooth criminal goes around blabbing her secrets all over the internet. But I will say this: I rock. If you ever need someone to break into your house, I’m your woman. Dodie and Squiggles can vouch for that.

In retrospect, Squiggles and I were very lucky. It was fairly sunny and warm out, and we were well dressed. And if we’d been faced with being locked out for three whole hours, I had a few ideas of where we could go to keep warm and kill some time. But the experience taught me some valuable lessons. Like that I should never leave home without my wallet, so I can at least go buy a coffee if I have to bum around the mall with my kid for a few hours. And that we should have an emergency key hidden outside somewhere. And, I learned something very important about that trace of bad-ass street cred I always pretended I had: apparently I’ve still got it.





Domestic Blister’s Holiday Harangue

24 11 2008

T’was the month before Christmas in the ol’ Blisterdome

and the rabid consumerism was making me foam.

Each TV commercial, each Holiday flyer

Pushed me up on my soapbox a little bit higher.

The toy pile in the basement was so out of control

that I found myself wishing it would all turn to coal.

With heat so expensive, that coal’d be fantastic.

It would burn so much cleaner than cheap Chinese plastic.

With a plethora of presents from occasions before

Destroyed and discarded all over the floor,

I thought of the Christmas well-meaning gift-givers,

Making that pile grow. And it gave me the shivers!

I thought of the meaningless mass of such stuff,

And I said to myself “Enough is enough!”

Instead of just buying and fostering greed

Why not throw the money at stuff we do need?

Dance classes for Roo! Tae Kwon Do class for Neener!

Some ice packs for Mr.’s vasectomied wiener! **

Warm socks for Squiggles! New undies for me!

Sure beats mouthfuls of melamine under the tree.

We don’t need more Dora or Barbie or Tink.

How ’bout health insurance, for our trips to the shrink!

With gifts about quality, not just sheer amount

Maybe each would be precious, maybe each gift would count.

Instead of just ripping through wrapping galore,

Perhaps we’d find something not sold in a store.

The meaning of Christmas, of true appreciation,

With money left over for a sunny vacation!

And my hope of all hopes, if I had my druthers

Would be for my children to think about others.

To think of the people they love oh-so dearly,

Not the mountain of merch that stunts our growth, yearly.

And knowing they’re part of the luckiest few,

Think not “What’d I get?”, but “What can I do

To make the world brighter? Make a sad person happy?”

But I better shut up now. I’m getting all sappy.

Maybe this little Buy Less scheme will work,

Or maybe I’m being a self-righteous jerk.

But I don’t give a damn, not a fiddler’s fart.

I refuse to believe Love’s on sale at Wal-Mart.

It’s not on for a buck at the ol’ Dollarama.

It’s snuggled around us, like a cozy pajama.

Our big basement toy pile now seems out of place,

So we’ll donate that junk to someone with more space.

And focus instead on the things that have meaning,

Things that require a whole lot less cleaning.

Less stuff means more time to enjoy all our blessings

And hopefully fewer gargantuan messings.

With a few thoughtful gifts, and our spirits restored,

The Blisters can laugh at the Holiday horde

For whom Boxing Day Sales are reason to brawl.

Happy Christmas, poor suckers. Good luck at the mall!

** The vasectomied wiener depicted in this poem is fictional… for now.





Another year wiser

20 11 2008

Yesterday, I celebrated my birthday. I won’t say which birthday, since I’ve been craftily running a misinformation campaign on that for, oh, about 20 years now. The first ten years consisted of adding a few years to the real number, but in recent years, I’ve adopted a slightly different strategy. You may hear the number “32”  bandied about by such unreliable sources as my mother, whose memory is clearly failing, my husband ,who is in obvious denial about his cradle-robberdom, and my children, who are foul mouthed little liars. Anyway, my age is irrelevant. What really matters is that I’ve had some memorable birthdays, and when I reflect back on them, many have taught me a valuable lesson that I carry with me to this day. Here is a brief retrospective of birthdays-gone-by, and some of the wisdom I’ve extracted from my 18-35 odd years on this planet:

The Beginning: The day I was born, I was already 3 weeks late. My mother’s due date was Halloween. When labour induction failed and my mother and I started showing signs of distress, somebody finally realized that something was wrong. Damn placenta was blocking my exit. I was yanked out via an emergency c-section just in the nick of time. From my mother’s regular re-telling of the harrowing story of my birth and her grueling recovery, I learned two very important things: First, that I am a very, very lucky individual. And second, that a great deal of guilt can be leveraged once your child realizes that you almost died giving birth to them.

My 4th Birthday: A massive snow storm. A storm so bad that no one could make it to my party. I proclaimed that to be “The Worst Birthday Ever.” The lesson? You can’t control the weather, not even on your birthday. But you can control your definition of worst.

My 6th Birthday: My first party with my new school friends. Dozens of them. My new best friend gave me a Strawberry Shortcake doll but after all the gifts were opened, decided that she wanted to keep the cute little scented Custard the cat figurine that came with it. When her mom came to pick her up, I watched tearfully as she walked out the door with a party loot bag and the best part of a present that was supposed to be for me. That taught me that sometimes your friends do things that piss you off, but they are still your friends. She gave my Custard the cat back. Eventually.

My 16th Birthday: My then-boyfriend, a 6 foot 3, 115 pound 18 year old with a black studded leather jacket and a mega-mullet, whom I had proclaimed “The Best Boyfriend Ever”, got caught cheating on me with his ex. The lesson I gleaned was that I could not control what other people did. Not even on my birthday. But I could control my definition of the word best.

My 17th Birthday: A misunderstanding morphed into an argument with a girl I thought was my friend. She chased me out of the mall and threatened to beat me with a baseball bat. Which showed me that sometimes your friends do things that frighten the hell out of you, and those people are not really your friends at all.

My 19th Birthday: I did not set foot in a bar or a liquor store until the day I turned 19 because I was terrified of getting ID’d. On my 19th birthday, identification in hand, I did both. And no one asked me to prove how old I was. On one hand, I kicked myself. On the other hand, I was glad I never had to do the ol’ “Oh I forgot my I.D, I’ll be right back” underage booze-buyer dash. The lesson? Sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry. And I am younger than I look.

My 21st Birthday: Well, not technically on the day of my birth, but that year, my birthday provided the excuse my friends and I needed to party recklessly for an entire week. On day three of my birthday bender, I met a guy. Six feet tall, on the skinny side, twinkling green eyes, and a black Motorolla pager. I consumed an ample amount of liquid courage, introduced myself to him, and told my friends that very night that I was going to marry that guy some day. And I did. From that I learned that sometimes it pays to take a chance. And I am smarter than I look.

My 30th Birthday: My sweet Mr. threw me a fantastic party. I was surrounded by amazing people, and surprised by the poetic abilities of my friends, who all wrote poems to commemorate the occasion. We stuffed ourselves with every flavour martini under the sun, and stuffed the kids with a heinous amount of Little Mermaid birthday cake. I woke up at 3 am with a bad case of martini-induced barfies. Roo woke up at 3:15 am with a bad case of blue-icing induced barfies, and I spent the rest of the night ignoring my own rolling stomach and pounding head to tend to my sick child. That birthday taught me to expect the unexpected. And to always keep a barfie bowl or two handy.

My 31st Birthday: Enormously pregnant with baby Squiggles, I was lucky I could walk, let alone celebrate. Eating gave me heartburn. Laughing made me pee in my pants. Sleep was a figment of my hormone-addled imagination. Desperate to get that baby on the move, I drank some castor oil. The only thing that moved was the take-out chinese food I had for my birthday dinner. I learned, yet again, how little control I have over the world. How there are some things that just can not be rushed. And how to engrave  guilt-inducing details into my mind. Details that will later be used to make my kids realize how wonderful I am because of what I went through to bring them into the world.

Now, I hold all of these little lessons in my heart and mind. Looking around at my family, my friends, my life, I know I am extraordinarily lucky, and I try to appreciate each day for what it is because tomorrow is promised to no one. The snow swirling to the ground, and the atrocities swirling through the news don’t rattle me because I know I can’t control anything beyond my own perspective. I have no time for the bullshit of people who are decitful or mean, and I have all the time in the world for the people I love. I take chances only when I know what I’m risking and what I stand to gain. Otherwise I play it safe, take my time, and make the best of what I’ve got.  And last night, as I celebrated with family and friends and food and drink, I listened to the smart little voice inside that said “Go easy on the appletinis, and take the barfie bowl upstairs and leave it on Neener’s bed.” If my age-related misinformation campaign is successful, I may not be getting any older. But I am getting wiser. At least, that’s how I felt at 3 a.m. when I awoke to the words “Mommy, I need to barf.”





Bad English

16 11 2008

This is not what I had in mind when I imagined Neener and Roo saying ‘bad words.’ Sure, I expected the hysterical giggling. The marker covered hands flitting over their yogurt-caked lips in the most feeble attempt to keep the forbidden words from tumbling off their tongues. I expected them to flout my authority and flaunt their rebellion by shouting those obscenities out at the breakfast table. For them to watch my reaction, and to delight in my mock shock. To be egged on by my inadequately hidden amusement. But I did not expect the first bad words out of their mouths to be quite so appalling. I never imagined I’d hear my children say the word ain’t.

Yeah, that’s what they’re picking up from the kids in school these days. I was all ready for them to come home with real ‘bad words’, which, as you may have guessed, I personally adore and can not wait to appropriately incorporate into the lexicon of my offspring. But Ain’t, I don’t got no, no I nevered? That shit makes my obsessively editorial, English-major self writhe and shudder far more than any mere expletive ever could. And, it has forced me to explain to my kids that poor grammar makes you sound like you don’t know no better. Like maybe you ain’t no more smarter than the empty milk cartons you brang home from school. All the while trying to be careful not to imply that the kids who speak that way – and the adults who allow it – don’t got no brains neither.

As a writer, I’m a firm believer in breaking rules and pushing boundaries. There is certainly a place in good creative writing and speaking for double negatives, made-up words, and even the odd ain’t. But I also believe that you must know the rules before you can go around breaking them. And that the appropriate place for such words is not in the mouths and minds of my five and a half year olds. So, when one of them drops the ain’t-bomb, or butchers a verb, or lets fly a double negative in the heat of the moment, I do the only thing I can to avoid coming off like an anal retentive, lecturing language snob: I turn it into a joke. I flip into a theatrical Queen of England pontification, espousing the extreme importance of proper grammar, and then break into a face-contorting, foot-stomping, elbow-flapping  singing of “There ain’t no flies on me/There ain’t no flies on me/ There might be flies on some of your guys/But there ain’t no flies on me” , channelling my very best Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel. This lets me simultaneously teach them a bit about good grammar, but it also lets me do something even more important: threaten to boot their little arses if I ever hear them say “No I nevered” again.





No Rest for the Sick-ed

19 10 2008

Ahhhh, Fall. The patchwork quilt of amber and crimson and orange covering the hardwood hillsides. The faintest hint of frost in the air. The raspy voices, the phlegm-tastic coughs, and the rivers of neon yellow snot oozing down my children’s faces. Ahhhh, Fall. Ahhhh ahhhh ahhhh choooo.

As ever, the Blister family suffers from impeccable timing. I have about 100 hours worth of writing work to get done. I have twelve days to finish it. And at the rate of 75 cents per word, each one better be pretty bloody dazzling. Or at least coherent. That’s all for the slightly soul-sucking, but gigantic- bill-paying gigs, which take priority over everything. Eve-ry-thing. That means no time for running or yoga or reading or stalking people on facebook. Luxuries like shopping and leg shaving and sleeping past 6 a.m. and every-second-day showers are on hold. But in order to maintain sanity, I have to squeeze in some real writing. The writing that does not turn a dime, but fills the soul vacuum created by doing writing in which I am not allowed to bitch or swear or say what I think. This blog, and a few of my other side projects that might some day propel me to fame and fortune – or at least result in a lump sum of money we can use for a down payment on a house – can’t be neglected. Oh and then there are the kids. Apparently they can’t be neglected either. Not even when they are whiny and boogery and demanding. Neener still needs explanations about the world. Roo still needs bear hugs when she’s echoing and gnashing and melting. Squiggles still needs boobs and bottles and bum changes and stories and songs and help learning how to roll over and clap again. Throw in a night of Neener’s nightmares, Roo with the barfies, and Squiggles refusing to sleep anywhere but on my chest, and you have one exhausted Mrs. Blister who still has to get shit done. No matter how badly she wants to curl up alone under a blanket, with a cup of tea, a package of Halls, and a box of kleenex and hibernate until Christmas morning.

Of course, I’m not on my own in all this. Mr. unquestionably does his share, but we’re still struggling to really find our groove, manage our time, and define our roles. He’s having a hard time prying the domestic reins from my strong, steady, stubborn hands, and sometimes he’s not sure he really wants to. And I’m having a hard time cracking the various whips that need to be cracked in order for me to get my writing career moving as fast as I want and need it to be. I’m too busy frigging around with the domestic reins that I’ve held for so long, and grown so adept at handling. There are a million little challenges to this arrangement that I could not have anticipated, and they all seem to be surfacing at once. Right now, at the worst possible time.

But the timing of this miserable Fall cold that has gripped us? Yeah, I coulda called that. Naturally we’d all wind up feeling and acting under the weather just as I am heading into an intensely busy and stressful work period. Nothing new there. I know that deep in my sub-conscious mind, the part of me that relishes and thrives on struggle and adversity is positively giddy these days. It’s the same part that winked at me and said I told you so when I got my first A on a university term paper. A paper written the night before it was due, 15 minutes at a time, in between bolts to the dorm bathroom with the worst case of the barfies I’ve ever had. It’s the same part that hysterically insisted that Mr. and I were meant to be together when all other evidence and opinion pointed to the contrary. It’s the same part of me that smirks and says bring it on at the thought of all three of my children being somewhere on the autism spectrum. I don’t want to make a habit of quoting Bruce Cockburn, but sometimes he nails it. “Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.” And I don’t want to make a habit out of quoting my mother, but sometimes the ol’ doll nails it too. “No guts, no glory.” So pile on the work and pile up the laundry. Bring on the barfies and the boogers. If need be, I’ll sneeze and cough my way through the next two weeks, and come out on the other side with my best work done, my family still functional, and maybe even a shred of sanity leftover. And as for those nasty little phlegm balls that have been getting a free ride in the back of my sore throat for far too long now, I say this: if you’re big enough to choke me, you’re big enough to get out and walk. Haaacaaaaapaaaathoooey!